In one final rally, the boys tried to hold on to their lead to advance to the next round of the 9u baseball playoffs. It was not in their cards. Not this time. Not this year. Not this season.
I went over to the dugout after Noochie’s last “at bat” and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. He was never going to release them but they were there, they were real and yet he wasn’t going to let them be in charge.
He held his head up high and congratulated every member of the other team. He thanked his coaches and teammates and he looked at me in Mogwai glances and then we headed to the car.
The silence overcame us as we drove off and made our way to get his other brother at football. When we arrived, he said to me, “I’m running to the “restroom”. Which for where we were, translated to the top of the football field hill and into the woods.
I knew exactly what he needed from the moment. I knew exactly what he was reflecting on. I knew he would work it out within himself to regroup and move on. I knew he let the tears, finally take charge.
When he returned to the vehicle he was more at peace with himself. The somber look dissipated and he was humbled. I asked him if he was alright and he replied, “I’m better now, it’s hard, I don’t want the season to end and I wanted my final game to be better than the way I performed. But I looked the other way towards my football practice field and I’m ready to transition to that game. I’m not letting myself down because I learned a lot. I’m just ready to be a better version of me next year.”
Ten years old and so wise beyond his years.
We talk a lot about mindfulness. We talk about communicating with each other and unconditionally supporting our little family of four, the boys and I. They have seen me at both states. Those were I let the moment take control of me and other times when I stayed grounded and mindful. Yet, of all of us, he can practice this trait the best.
He is a constant reminder to me of what’s truly important. When to acknowledge it’s sometimes best to head for the hill. When to engage and when to simply just walk away; sometimes not even turning back.
The field dust will always be there behind us and the emptiness that takes over the bases, mound and plate sometimes is a reality. But what really matters is taking what you learned from every base, every hit and strike out, every walk and every run and make the next time around, a better version of you.